Not Your Typical Call for Papers (cc @idlEthnographer)

With the 2014 Volume, the Berkeley Journal of Sociology will focus its efforts on writing a “history of the present.”  The journal will no longer publish academic research articles. Instead, we seek compelling essays, insightful commentaries, critical analyses, and topical symposiums on the most pressing political and cultural issues of the day. Our aim is to provide critical perspectives from the social sciences on public debates and current events with an orientation toward social and political engagement. We seek to transform our longstanding graduate-run academic journal into a print and online magazine sourced by a global graduate community with wider relevance. The BJS is re-imagining the purpose of a publication that emerges from within the academy, but which does not take the discipline of professional sociology as its aim. We seek new audiences across new platforms to firmly root sociological knowledge within society, for society.

We believe there is a need for creative translation and wider circulation of the knowledge we are producing as graduate students of the social sciences on politics and culture today. We seek to broaden the interpretive range, imaginative scope, and prospective application of our research to ongoing political struggles, emerging cultural trends, and possibilities of alternative futures.  We are not content to be relegated to the sidelines. The point, after all, is to change the world. The task before us is to arm our critiques with power. This is a call to join a proper conspiracy whose aim is not only to critique, but to intervene; not only to intervene, but also to shift the terrain beyond the internal debates of the academic field.

The BJS seeks to open up a space to re-compose social research into a range of written forms, unobstructed by technical jargon and unconstrained by formalistic rigidity. Through its online-first approach the journal seeks to redistribute its material across sources and publications, in the alternative and popular press. Toward that end, BJS is accepting the following kinds of submissions on topical issues or debates:

  • research essays: open to interpretation.

  • commentary: social scientific assessments of events, journalistic reportage and public discourse; critiques of recent reports by state agencies, think-tanks, NGOs, foundations, polling agencies, etc.

  • conversations: interviews with traditional or organic intellectuals on topical subjects and debates.

  • field memos: ethnographic dispatches from graduate researchers; elaborations of experiences in the field as they relate to contemporary social struggles, crises, cultural or political debates.

  • photo essays: from a site of research; sociological critiques of art or visual culture.

  • book reviews (joint or solo): social scientific assessments of recently released trade books; reviews of academic books relating to contemporary events or debates.

  • debates:  The journal will be running video and transcripts from UC Berkeley’s Public Sociology Initiative. We invite similar debates or symposia on contemporary politics and culture, in the flesh or virtual.

Submissions are due by June 1st and may be sent as email attachments to and will be subject to a review among Berkeley graduate students in the social sciences. We also invite proposals for forums comprised of a number of contributions around a single topic. Proposals for forums should include a brief description of the project and information about the authors, including contact info, and should be submitted by April 1st to All journal content will be published under a CC-BY-NC-ND license.

The Berkeley Journal of Sociology is a graduate student-­run journal that has been in publication since 1955. Archived articles can be found on JSTOR.

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